The Minimum Auto Insurance Required in Your State – Forbes Advisor

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Most states require drivers to have some level of auto insurance. Some states only require minimum amounts of liability insurance, while others have additional coverage requirements, such as personal injury coverage.

Purchasing the minimum required amount of Liability insurance provides you with some financial protection if you are at fault in an accident. We recommend purchasing higher amounts of Liability insurance than the state minimum. If you cause an accident, you may be sued for damages that exceed your coverage limits. A good rule of thumb is to purchase enough liability insurance to cover the assets you could lose in a lawsuit.

Minimum car insurance requirements by state

Which countries do not require car insurance?

Every state except New Hampshire and Virginia requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. However, even drivers in these states may find they still need coverage in certain situations.

  • New Hampshire generally does not require you to have auto insurance if you can prove you meet the state’s minimum financial responsibility requirements. If you cannot meet these requirements, your New Hampshire driving privileges may be suspended. Additionally, if you encounter certain problems down the road, such as being found at fault for an uninsured accident, you may need to purchase insurance.
  • Virginia residents can choose not to purchase liability insurance by paying a $500 uninsured motorist fee. Skipping car insurance, however, means you won’t have any coverage in the event of an accident. If you cause an accident, you will be liable to pay for other people’s injuries and property damage.

Common types of state-required auto insurance

If you’re looking for the best auto insurance policy for your needs, a good place to start is to find out what types of coverage are required by your state. This usually includes one or more of the following coatings.

Liability insurance

If you cause an accident, liability car insurance pays for property damage and injuries to others, including the other driver, their passengers and pedestrians. It also covers your legal defense and any judgments or settlements that arise if you are sued because of an accident.

Liability coverage requirements include a minimum amount of coverage for personal injury, accidental bodily injury, and property damage.

For example, if you’re shopping for auto insurance in Texas, you’ll need a policy that meets the state’s 30/60/25 minimum liability requirements. This means that your policy should include at least:

  • $30,000 personal injury liability coverage per accident
  • $60,000 personal injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage per incident

Uninsured motorist coverage

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you if you’re in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance.

Likewise, drivers may be authorized by their state to purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This type of coverage comes into play if the at-fault driver is insured but does not have enough coverage to pay for your damages.

Like liability insurance, UM/UIM is often divided into two parts:

  • Bodily damage: Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) coverage and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) coverage.
  • Property damage: Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UIMPD) Coverage.

Some states require drivers to wear an UMBI but do not require a UMPD. Others require coverage for both bodily injury and property damage.

Personal injury protection

If you are involved in an accident, personal injury protection (PIP) covers injuries to you and your passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.

PIP coverage includes medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and funeral expenses, and survivor benefits. It may even cover the cost of some day-to-day services, such as childcare, if your injuries prevent you from performing these tasks.

PIP is required in some states.

Medical payments (MedPay)

MedPay covers accident-related medical bills for you or your passengers, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It can also cover your medical bills if you are involved in an accident as a passenger or as a pedestrian.

MedPay is not available in every state, but is required in some.

Connected: The main types of car insurance

Additional car insurance coverage is required for some drivers

Although not required by states, comprehensive and collision coverage may be required by your lender if you have a car loan or lease.

  • Collision coverage pays for damage that occurs when you collide with another object, such as a car, railing, telephone pole or other structure.
  • Full coverage pays for damage caused by other incidents, such as natural disasters, fire, theft, vandalism, rollover, or damage caused by animals (such as a deer running in front of your car or a mouse gnawing on your engine wiring).

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Frequently asked questions about minimum car insurance

How much is car insurance with minimum coverage?

A Forbes Advisor analysis shows that the average “good driver” rate for minimum required liability auto insurance is $618 per year. However, rates will vary depending on several factors, including where you live, your age, your driving history and the type of car you drive.

Another thing that affects the cost of car insurance is the car insurance company you choose. Shopping and comparing auto insurance quotes can help you find the lowest rate for the coverage you need.

Connected: Cheapest car insurance companies

Should I get car insurance with minimum or full coverage?

The minimum coverage will ensure you have enough insurance to drive legally in your state, but there are benefits to purchasing additional coverage if it fits your budget.

If you are at fault for an accident, especially one that results in injuries, a minimum coverage policy will likely not be enough to cover all the damages associated with the accident, including your legal defense and any judgments against you if you are sued.

Connected: How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?

What happens if I don’t meet my state’s minimum auto insurance requirements?

Each state has its own penalties for driving without car insurance.

In general, you can expect to pay a fine ranging from $150 to $1,500. License suspensions are also common and can last up to three years, as is the case in Florida. There may be other consequences, such as vehicle impoundment, suspension of vehicle registration and even jail time.

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